Why Is It So Hard To Trust The Lord?
Why is it so hard to trust the Lord? When you come to a place where you truly believe that God is both sovereign and good, why then, is it difficult to put our full trust in Him? If He always has our best interests in mind, and He is always working to restore us, why do we fear?
I believe this difficulty stems all the way back to the Garden of Eden. You see, Eve is much like myself. In fact, I don’t believe her to be any more deceived than I am. When she came in contact with the serpent, he said to her, “For God knows that when you eat from it (the tree of good and evil) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)
When reading this story in Genesis,the bible specifically mentions two trees of the hundreds I am sure were actually in the garden. The tree of good and evil, which is so famously our downfall, and the tree of life. It is interesting to me that eating from the tree of life itself was not enough for Adam and Eve. It seems like a tree that would have been my son’s saving grace. But on the story goes.
“When the woman saw the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took it and ate it.” (Genesis 3:6)
What is interesting to me, is that the tree of good an evil bore fruit that was good enough to eat. The serpent had spun a lie based off an incomplete truth. The tree would give Eve wisdom, a wisdom that she was able to recognize by looking at it. So she ate. But in his incomplete truth, the serpent concealed both the end result of the choice to eat the fruit and his planting of doubt in Eve’s heart.
I believe we encounter the same serpent daily. His game is doubt and half truths. You see, Eve was seeking knowledge. I am no different. I have apps on my phone that tell me when I ovulate and predict my period, all to give me knowledge and power over my own body. Eve and I are the same. I feel for her, because we struggle with what all women, and perhaps men too, struggle with: Insecurity. The serpent tells us that knowledge defeats insecurity. I believe if Eve hadn’t eaten from the tree, I surely would have trying to slay my insecurity concerning pregnancy with knowledge.
The devil’s lie worked on Eve, because the world truly does offer us security and a sense of trust. It looks like doctors, and ultrasounds, blood work, and modern medicine. It looks like 401K’s, savings accounts, and insurance policies. And although these things are not bad, we cannot put our trust in them. The bible tells us that choosing to trust the Lord is a better route. “It is better to Trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” (Psalm 118:8) These worldly institutions can give us peace, but it is only temporary. For money is spent, and insurance policies end. Doctor’s do their very best, but they are not all knowing.
The devil ensnares us by putting temporary trust in front of our eyes and it seems so much more tangible than trusting God. Numbers and heartbeats can be read and heard by our own eyes and ears. Trust in the Lord can sometimes feel like nothing. This is where the serpent uses doubt to drive a wedge in our faith. He causes us to ask ourselves, “Can I really trust the Lord with this situation?”
What the serpent failed to reveal to Eve if she ate the fruit, was she would receive death for her decision and humanity would fall from perfect communion with God. The devil knew this would happen, because he, himself had already made the same decision and fallen from God. The devil’s promises always lead to death. But God’s end result is always life.
There is another source that will give us the peace we seek. And oddly enough we pass right over it when reading the story of the Fall. The tree of life. Jesus said, “I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener.” (John 15:1) I think Jesus is reminding us that the tree of Life stands next to the tree of good and evil since the beginning of time. Although we don’t see the actual trees like Eve did, we encounter them every day. Sometimes the tree of good and evil looks like my smart phone, WebMD, and Facebook. The tree of life always looks like my bible, prayer, and worship.
I have yet to find a verse in the bible that instructs us to trust worldly things. In fact, it says to throw them off, and to forget the past. (Ephesians 4:22) (Isaiah 43:18)
But over and over again we are instructed to Trust the Lord.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 56:3)
“Blessed is the one whose trust is in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” (Jeremiah 17:7)
“Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
When I think of the difficulty I feel when trying to trust the Lord, I am reminded of the story of Abraham and his beloved son in Genesis, chapter 22. Abraham wanted a son. And after a long time, and though his wife, Sarah, was no longer able to bear children, God gave them a child named Isaac. God then asked Abraham to give his only child back to Him as a sacrifice on the mountain in the region of Moriah.
Can you imagine that hike? Normally hiking, especially in the Pacific Northwest, is an incredible experience filled with beautiful views and breaths of fresh air. But if I was Abraham, I wouldn’t have noticed any beautiful views, rushing streams, or wild animals. No, instead I would have been crying the entire way up the mountain knowing I was about to sacrifice my only child to the God I love. But Abraham understood something about trusting the Lord; it starts with obedience.
Abraham did what Eve could not. Obey. Abraham took his son to the place where he would kill Isaac, and at the last second, God told Abraham to stop. God was honored by Abraham’s obedience. Eve had been instructed to eat from any tree in the garden except the tree of good and evil, and she did not obey.
Like Abraham and Eve, we don’t often know what result trusting in the Lord will produce in the short term. In hindsight of our pain, we often say, if I had only known what was going to happen. But this wish is a false understanding of grief. Even if you knew about tragedy ahead of time, do you think it would make it less painful? I doubt Abraham or Eve would tell us that.
Trusting the Lord doesn't come from knowing our future. In fact, knowing the future would probably stress us out more. Trusting the Lord doesn't come from savings accounts, doctors or pregnancy tests. It comes from obedience.
So how do we obey? Quite simply, I could just tell you to read the bible and do what it says. And that is the truth. But in my own life, obeying the Lord has looked like glorifying Him in everything, and thanking him for the blessings and the most terrible pains. I have to thank God for my living son just as much as I thank him for the children I have in heaven. Why? Because God has a purpose for both in my life. The wonders and difficulties of being a mother on earth as well as the pain of missing my children in heaven are creating a righteousness in me, and are glorifying the God I love.
Abraham was willing to give up his only child to obey God. The child he waited for until old age. The child his wife was too old to bear. The child that he had prayed for his entire life. But what we learn about Abraham is that even though he loved his son immensely, Abraham loved God more than what he wanted most.
Maybe that's where trust starts. It’s loving God more than what I already love. I have to choose the tree of life over the tree of knowledge. I have to choose to take my fear to the Lord over trying to search for answers on my own. Although I don’t know how the short term of trusting the Lord will look or feel, I am promised the long term result is life.
Psalm 125:1 “Those who trust in the Lord are like the Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken and endures forever.”